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6 Cleaning Products You Should Never Mix—And 2 You Absolutely Should

Ammonia, vinegar and bleach are among the most powerful cleaners at your disposal, but they can also be dangerous when mixed.

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Don’t mix: Ammonia and bleach

Combining these two household cleaning products can create toxic chloramine vapours. If you inhale these vapours it can cause respiratory problems and throat burns. Make sure to read the labels on your cleaning products before you mix them to prevent any accidents. For example, Windex typically has ammonia in it, and some brands of pipe cleaner, such as Drano, have bleach in them. Here are some other smart ways to use bleach.

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Don’t mix: Vinegar and bleach

When you mix an acidic product with bleach it releases toxic chlorine and chloramine vapours. This can cause a chemical burn, most likely in your lungs or eyes.

Find out eight things you should never clean with vinegar.

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Don’t mix: Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar

Combining hydrogen peroxide and vinegar creates peracetic acid or corrosive acid. It can create an irritant that, in high concentrations, can harm the skin, eyes, throat, nose, and lungs. These two products can be used on the same surface (making certain the area dries in between applications), but they can’t be mixed together in the same container.

Here are more surprising ways your house is making you sick.

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Don’t mix: Rubbing alcohol and bleach

Mixing these two products creates chloroform. When exposed to low levels of chloroform you may become dizzy or nauseous. Higher levels can lead to damage of the nervous system, eyes, lungs, skin, liver, kidneys, and even death.

Check out these life-saving lessons from actual poison control centre calls.

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Don’t mix: Bleach and toilet bowl cleaner

If you mix bleach with a toilet bowl cleaner (containing sodium bisulfate) with an acidic formula it can release toxic fumes that will cause breathing problems and watery eyes.

Did you know that making this mistake with a clogged toilet can make things worse?

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Don’t mix: Different drain cleaners

If your drain is really clogged, you might be tempted to try this. Don’t. Mixing two different drain cleaners can cause the release of chlorine gas and may even potentially lead to an explosion. Avoid mixing drain cleaners in the same container as well as using one right after another. Avoid using drain cleaner altogether by never putting these things down the drain.

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Do mix: Laundry detergent and vinegar

By adding one cup of vinegar to your laundry cycle you can gain many extra benefits. Vinegar kills off bacteria, gives your clothes a fresh scent, keeps them lint-free, and brightens them. Here are other creative household uses for vinegar.

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Do mix: Laundry detergent and baking soda

Baking soda in your laundry makes your whites whiter and your colours brighter. Baking soda softens the water so you can actually use less laundry detergent per load.

Now that you know which cleaners you should never mix, find out 35 nearly-forgotten cleaning tips from the past.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest